Archive for ‘Olafur Eliasson’

June 5, 2011

ARoS Aarhus – Your rainbow panorama | Olafur Eliasson

Your rainbow panorama
Olafur Eliasson
A city is a cosmos, a site for social encounters and cohabitation.
A museum is a vision machine that challenges our senses, thoughts, and felt opinions.
The public, you, is a barometer of the world. You mould as much as you receive.
I think of Your rainbow panorama as a mediator that forges relations between these three: you, ARoS,
and the city of Aarhus. It is a vehicle for looking anew, which frames views and frames you as you
proceed through the seamless walkway of subtly transforming colour atmospheres. What you
experience may be of both panoramic scope and introspective quality – you may see yourself seeing.
Sometimes alone, mostly with others.
I see Your rainbow panorama as an orientation tool. Dividing Aarhus into colour zones, it has the
qualities of a lighthouse: it draws attention not only to itself, but also to your physical location in
Aarhus. For people living in the city and moving through the different times of day, the work becomes
a compass in time and space.
Imagine Your rainbow panorama as an instrument that tunes you – its user – so that your body is
transformed into a colour resonator. Enveloped in the rainbow environment, you produce afterimages
in hues complementary to the colours in the glass panes around you. If you look at the city through red
glass, your eyes develop a green afterimage. If you maintain a quick pace, the colours remain vibrant.
But if you pause in one colour zone, the hue around you grows pale while the colours in your
peripheral vision, where the walkway curves, intensify. Colour intensities depend on your speed.
The colour spectrum speaks to the museum collections below – to contemporary art as well as to the
works of, say, Karl Isakson, Olaf Rude, or Oluf Høst. These modernist painters were equally infatuated
with what colours say and do.
Colour intensifies reality at all times.
The circle of Your rainbow panorama complements the museum’s square plan exactly. These basic
geometric forms challenge each other in a friendly dialogue about spatial dimensions, movement, and
the passing of time. The continuous curve limits your view to about twenty meters ahead, revealing
one colour shade after the other. The intimacy created by this short distance is reflected back on the
moving bodies.
Think of Your rainbow panorama as an expectation machine. Even before entering ARoS and
ascending to the work, you may look upon the city as if through coloured glass. Your expected gaze.
What you know from the street then emerges from above as strangely real, in a continuous interplay of colour saturation and desaturation. Suspended between the city and the sky, this viewing platform
insists on your sensory engagement. You feel the view. Perhaps your memory of the art collections
below, through which you just made your way, infiltrate your experience.
Your rainbow panorama sits on top of a house of condensed meanings – contested, defended,
undone, and re-enacted – of cultural intentions, historical realities, visions, and revisions.
Museums will always be vision machines.
Visions for now and forever.



Olafur Eliasson’s Masterpiece

Your rainbow panorama
opens in ARoS, Denmark

On Friday 27 May 2011, a unique work of art, Your rainbow panorama, will officially open on the roof of the ARoS museum of art in Denmark. As from Saturday 28 May at 10am, there will be public access to this work, which is a donation from Realdania.It is the world-famous Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson who has created this permanent work of art in the form of a circular walkway 150 metres in extent and three metres wide made in glass in all the colours of the spectrum. The spectacular work of art has a diameter of 52 metres and is mounted on slender columns 3.5 metres above the roof surface of the museum.

Visitors to the museum will have access to this great work of art via stairs and lifts. They can take a stroll such as will delight the senses round this circular pathway, which will provide them with panoramic views of the surrounding city and Århus Bay. Beneath the “floating” work of art, the actual roof area and its c. 1500 square metres has been covered with wood, so the surface constitutes a unique recreational area and viewing platform for visitors to the museum fifty metres above street level.Your rainbow panorama will be visible from a great distance, and as you will see different colours according to where you are in the city, the work acts as a compass. At night, Your rainbow panorama is lit up from inside by spotlights embedded in the floor.

Olafur Eliasson describes the project in the following words:
“Your rainbow panorama enters into a dialogue with the existing architecture and reinforces what is assured beforehand, that is to say the view of the city. I have created a space which virtually erases the boundaries between inside and outside – where people become a little uncertain as to whether they have stepped into a work or into part of the museum. This uncertainty is important to me, as it encourages people to think and sense beyond the limits within which they are accustomed to moving”.Symbol of Aarhus

As a symbol representing art, the many-coloured halo hovers above the cubical building by schmidt/hammer/lassen architects and gives visual expression to the fact that the architectural concept of the ARoS building derives from Dante’s “Divine Comedy”: At the bottom the nine circles of Hell, the journey up from the Mount of Purgatory and finally, at the top, perfection in Paradise.

Subsequent to an international art competition in 2007, the task of transforming the roof of ARoS and completing the concept of the building was given to Olafur Eliasson. Among other things, the judges explained their choice of Your rainbow panorama by saying that this work would become a powerful identity-creating symbol for ARoS and the city of Aarhus and also a unique, artistic and architectonic landmark of international standing. The building of this extensive art project commenced in 2009, and summer 2010 saw the start of the installation of the now completed walkway. The work has cost 60 million kroner and has been financed by Realdania, while the cost of the roof terrace has been borne by Købmand Herman Sallings Fond. Aarhus Municipality is the authority responsible for the project.

Olafur Eliasson

The Danish/Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson (b. 1967) lives and works in Copenhagen and Berlin. In 1995, he established the Studio Olafur Eliasson in Berlin, from where, with a staff of some 45 architects, craftsmen and technicians, he creates new dialogues between art and its surroundings. Eliasson’s practice is characterised by his constant examinations of the relationship between space, sensing and body, and many of his works start out from natural elements such as air, light, ice or water. He trained in the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art in 1995 and achieved his international breakthrough with the exhibition The Weather Project in Tate Modern in 2003. Eliasson has carried out various projects in the public arena, including Green River, 1998, Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2007, London, designed together with the Norwegian architect Kjetil Thorsen, and The New York City Waterfalls in 2008. As a professor in the Universität der Künste Berlin, Eliasson founded a school called Institut für Raumexperimente in 2009.


To mark the opening of Your rainbow panorama, and with support from Realdania, ARoS is to publish a richly illustrated book on the project. Among its contents is an interview on the subject of this work with Olafur Eliasson together with a piece on it written by Professor Carsten Thau of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture and photographs recording the building process and the finished work. This book can be bought in the ARoS Shop after the opening ceremony.

Olafur Eliasson
Olafur Eliasson
photo © Olafur Eliasson

and from

‘your rainbow panorama’ by olafur eliasson, århus, denmark
image courtesy of studio olafur eliasson 

olafur eliasson‘s highly anticipated new installation ‘your rainbow panorama’ is now complete. set to open on may 28th,
the permanent elevated structure provides a 360º view of the city of århus, denmark. suspended between the city and the sky,
the viewing platform insists on the sensory engagement of those who enter it.

as designboom previously reported here and here, the continuously circular pathway sits on top of and proportionality
compliments the ARoS museum of art, designed by schmidt hammer lassen in 2007. measuring 150 meters around,
the transparent glass unit is designed to act as a visual compass for the city, its colors marking the physical location of
each visitor.

view from street
image courtesy of studio olafur eliasson

representing every color in the spectrum, the design looks to enter into a cohesive dialogue between the exiting architecture
and the surrounding city. virtually erasing the boundaries between indoors and out, the encompassing environment aims to
question the comfortable limits for which people are accustomed to moving.

image courtesy of studio olafur eliasson 

enveloped in the rainbow-like atmosphere, the user produces afterimages in hues complimentary to the colors that
surround them, altering and defining the perception of the city that lies below.

workers finish off the final details
image courtesy of studio olafur eliasson 

warm spectrum
image courtesy of studio olafur eliasson 

(left) inside viewing platform
(right) overall structure
images courtesy of 
ARoS / © ole hein pedersen

image courtesy of studio olafur eliasson 

(left) aerial view
(right) view from park

images courtesy of 
aros / © ole hein pedersen

the viewing deck sits above the low-lying structures within the city
image courtesy of studio olafur eliasson 

night view
image © ole hein pedersen